Out of the Champions League before Christmas and heading for a mid-table finish in the Premier League is not what Liverpool fans anticipated just four months ago.
But that is the scenario being played out at Anfield this season as Brendan Rodgers’ side lurch from one crisis to another. Why has it all gone wrong for the Reds?
Lack of goals
by theglobalpanorama Caption: Luis Suarez left for Barcelona
Luis Suarez’s summer departure to Barcelona, Daniel Sturridge’s injury problems and Raheem Sterling’s decline in form have all contributed to Liverpool’s lacklustre start to the campaign.
Those three players scored 61 Premier League goals between them last season, but this term the Reds have managed a paltry 19 in their first 15 matches. It is form which has experts around football, including those at the likes of bluesq.com, fiercely debating Liverpool’s fortunes.
Steven Gerrard conundrum
When he plays, everyone wants to know why, when he’s rested as was the case in the recent goalless draw with Sunderland, the cry goes up that one of England’s greatest players of the last decade has been dropped. Rodgers just can’t win.
But the simple truth is that Gerrard’s best days are behind him and, even though he remains a great passer of the ball, Liverpool play better without him in the team.
It’s in Liverpool’s long-term interests to leave him out of the team now and start to prepare for life without the 34-year-old midfield maestro.
Disappointing summer signings
by DrabikPany Caption: Mario Balotelli has struggled
The Suarez money has been squandered on a host of mediocre players with whom Rodgers already seems to have run out of patience.
Mario Balotelli has been the most high-profile flop but the likes of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno have hardly been rip-roaring successes.
Poor performances by Jordan Henderson and Simon Mignolet’s debatable form have also not helped. Errors at vital times have further eroded already fragile confidence.
Liverpool finished between sixth and eighth in each of the seasons before their remarkable 2013/14 campaign.
It may be hard for Reds fans to take, but Rodgers’ side may be returning to a more realistic finishing position this season. Last term’s second-place spot may be the exception rather than the norm.